Commuting in London: Motorists are the worst people in London

“But… but I thought you said that both pedestrians and Underground users are the worst people in London?”

That’s correct, whoever is asking me questions. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

On my way to work this morning, I was the victim of road rage on two separate occasions. This isn’t all that rare.

The first occasion, I was walking down a thin, one-way street near Brick Lane. Cars line either side of the road, and a Primary School is towards the end. Traffic is virtually non-existent, let alone slow.

I needed to move from one side of the road to the other, so I walked between two parked cars. I looked to my right, which was the direction of traffic, and noticed a car someway down the road. I figured it must have been moving at 10mph at most, and therefore decided to walk across. It’s a thin road, after all.

As soon as I stepped in to the road, a blaring horn greeted me.

Turning to my right again, I squinted to see the driver of this car gesticulating wildly, no doubt shouting violently aggressive things as they smacked their hand against the steering wheel. When he finally caught up to me (about 10 minutes later) he gave me a middle finger as he drove past.

Presumably because if he had only been going about 40 miles an hour faster, and I had been 30 foot closer, we may have almost collided.

The second time was because I walked in front of a car without looking while thinking about the first incident. Because I’m an idiot.

Still, road rage is a phenomenon I’ve never fully understood (probably because I don’t drive). What is it about the process of sitting behind a wheel inside a tin can that makes you feel so inherently angry? Is it the adrenaline? Is it the brain kicking in to fight or flight mode?

Louis CK covered all this in far funnier style than I ever could, so I’m not even going to really try. But what is absolutely true is that so much of our behaviour inside a car wouldn’t be even close to okay outside of it. When a driver starts hitting his horn, flipping me the bird and screaming obscenities at me because we came within half a mile of him having to successfully apply his brakes, I imagine he’s acting way out of character. I’ve already talked about what d*cks pedestrians are, but there is almost 0% chance a pedestrian would react in the same way in those circumstances.

I mean, I get it. Being a driver in London must suck for the same reason it sucks for cyclists. There’s way too much traffic. Pedestrians are idiots. The location and volume of roadworks are as unhelpful as they are unpredictable. For the speed you’re going you might as well be sat in a Tesco shopping trolley being pushed around by a small child. It makes me feel frustrated to even think about driving through London and, again, I don’t drive.

All I would ask is that, should I be crossing a road somewhere in your general vicinity, maybe you apply the same decency and logic that you would if you were walking.

And then you can take that middle finger and shove it up… ah crap, now I sound like a motorist as well.

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